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2,405 study surnames with us
and a further 6,120 variant names.

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About the study

The Carhart One-Name Study is just recently launched in the summer of 2013. I have been researching my ancestry since the mid 1980'€™s when I learned of the records that were available in the Salt Lake City LDS Library. I have traced some of my lines back Civil War era in the United States and my Carhart line to Cornwall, England in the 18th century.

I have run across many Carhart names in records in the United States as well as England and Australia that were not of my direct line, but did not want to lose the information should I find the connection, so have been capturing this information in my database throughout my research.

My direct linage is tied together nicely with supporting data, so now I will undertake the task of piecing together the other Carhart lines and perhaps, with the more data that is added, I will be able to link the smaller trees with my direct line.

Variant names

By far the most common spelling of the name is CARHART, at least 90% is spelled this way. The CARHARTT variant is the next most common. I have also included the CARHEART variant in this study.

Name origin

According to family historians, the origin of the surname Carhart is English. Probably the word is a combination of carr, meaning"€œa rock"€, or Caer, meaning a "œtown or city"€, and heorte or herta, meaning "€œheart"€. Alternatively, the second syllable may have been taken from the Anglo-Saxon heort, Danish hert, meaning "€œa stag"€. The name is most likely of local origin and was first assumed as a surname because of the place by that name.

Hambley Rowe, a genealogist in 1935 wrote of his research of the Carhart name:

"€œThe Carhart'€™s of Cornwall spring chiefly as far as my experience in Cornish genealogy goes from the North Western side of the county, from the parish of St. Breock near Padstow where there is a farmstead called Carhart today. In 1279 and 1284 it was called Corharta; in 1342 Carhurta and circa 1300 Kaerhorta.

Caer, of course means a camp or fortified site earthworks and hordt means a ram with the final "€˜a"€™ occurring in the early spellings. It would mean "the encampment of the rams"€™. But whether the ram refers to the tribal nickname or whether the site was the resort of wild sheep will perhaps never be known." lists the Carhart name as meaning the Americanized for of German Gerhardt. This is obviously incorrect information.

There are two coats of arms that have been associated with the surname. The first described in "A Genealogical Record of the Descendants of Thomas Carhart"€, Dusenbury, 1880:

Arms. - €"œArgent, two bars sable, in chief a demi-griffin, issuant of the last."
Crest. - "A demi-man, naked, argent, a wreath above his head sable, in right hand an oaken branch vert, acorns or."

The second coat of arms is similar for the arms with two bars and the demi-griffin. The crest of this second version is a ram.

Historical occurrences of the name

The Carhart family of England was small and comparatively obscure, located in both in Cornwall and in Devonshire. The earliest definite record of the family is of a grant of armorial bearings to the Carhurtas or Carhartas of Devon and Cornwall in the year 1420.

The earliest known record of the name is that of Sarah, daughter of Roger Carhurta, of Devonshire, married John Cottell, of Yoembridge, in Devon around 1420. In the visitations of Devonshire, 1565, is found the record of the marriage of Thomas Carhurta with Margery, daughter of Richard Malherb, but the date of the marriage was not recorded.

The Cornwall branch of the Carhart family was established as early as 1550, but the records of this line are fragmentary. Anthony Carhart, who was living in Cornwall before 1650, was the father about that year of a son, Thomas Carhart, who came to America in 1683 and is believed to have been the progenitor of most of the families with the Carhart name in the United States.

My family was one exception. My ancestor, Stephen Carhart, arrived in Wisconsin from Cornwall in 1842, much later than the line of Thomas Carhart. I am fairly certain I have accurately researched and documented the lineage of Stephen Carhart in the United States.

Among those of the name who have been prominent in America are:

Arthur Hawthorne Carhart (1892 - 1978), of Denver, Colorado, author and conservationist.

Daniel Carhart (1839 -€“ 1937), of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, educator, civil engineer, and author.

Jeremiah Carhart (1813-1868), of New York, manufacturer and inventor.

Hamilton Carhartt (1855 - 1937), of New York and Michigan, cotton manufacturer. Founded the Carhartt apparel manufacturer and retailer.

Henry Smith Carhart (1844 - 1920) of New York and Michigan, educator, scientist, and author.

John Ernest Carhart (1878 - 1943) of Ohio, clergyman.

LeRoy Harrison Carhart (1941 - ), of Nebraska, physician.

Raymond Thomas Carhart (1912 - 1975) born in Mexico City, Mexico. Professor of Audiology, Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

Name frequency

The various census returns searched on show the frequency of the Carhart name (not including variants):





























The following show the census returns search on for the frequency of the Carhart name in the United States. From 1790 through 1840, the number represents households only.

Year                1790    1800    1810    1820    1830    1840    1850    1860

US                   1          7          11        20        53        69        544      597

Year                1870    1880    1900    1910    1920    1930    1940

US                   691      666      935      1,070   1,053   1,038   917     

These figures are taken from the census indexes, not the actual census returns, so include transcription errors made by the enumerators on the night of the census as well as by the transcribers when compiling the indexes.

Distribution of the name

The origination of the Surname is in England in the counties of Cornwall and Devonshire. In current day, Carharts can be found primarily in the England, United States and a very small number in Canada and Australia.


My Carhart data includes -

Birth, Marriage and Death records:

  • FreeBMD
  • Social Security Death Index (SSDI)

Military records

Census records from US and UK

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

City directories

The process of gathering data is ongoing and if would like to send me your own tree I would be extremely interested to see if we make a connection.